Q: I help produce TV commercials and usually take my camera to the studio to make some record shots while the actual filming goes on. What kind of film do you recommend for shooting these studio scenes? I've tried the ASA 400 fast films but the color isn't good -- the pictures are usually reddish. A: You can take excellent color photos of instudio TV filming. After all, a scene already perfectly lighted for movies should also be just right for stills. The problem you're having is because the ASA 400 films are balanced for outdoor light -- sunlight -- which is bluish, so under the reddish indoor studio lights it will turn faces an embarrassing red.
The film to use for realistic color under studio lighting is a Type B (tungsten) film such as Ektachrome Professional Film, ASA 160. Actually, your choice of film is not unusual. Many people, even some pros, make the mistake of using outdoor film indoors. This is because we expect to see reddish tint at night and therefore accept the color distortion as natural. The same indoor film will photograph outdoors in the sunlight as blue. Blue grass, blue, blue sky and blue people. This, of course, our eyes won't accept because we know that in sunlight colors are true.
Just as ASA refers to the sensitivity or "speed" of the film Kelvin refers to the color sensitivity of the emulsion. Outdoor color film is rated at around 5,400 Kelvin while tungsten indoor film has a light temperature index of 3,200 K. An in-between class is the Type A photoflood of 3,400 degrees Kelvin. You don't need to remember all these Kevin ratings -- only that there is such a thing as an indoor and an outdoor color film and that each should be used in the proper place. (Of course, you can make points with the lighting technicians when you knowingly ask, "What Kelvin ratings are your lights?") Q: In a recent column you mentioned that any Nikon camera can be sent for service to Nikon Professional Services. This is not true. The only Nikon equipment that can be forwarded for repair under the Nikon Professional Services program (NPS) is equipment owned by members. The NPS membership is available only to "full-time" professional photographers who make their living solely with their camera equipment." As such, the greater number of your readers would not be eligible.
A: I stand corrected. But I do wish that Nikon had the same kind of service for all owners of Nikon equipment as it has for the full-time professionals. After all, they are using the same cameras as the professionals.